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  (Source: The Week)
Appeals are undoubtedly in the works

Apple has been involved in a legal battle with a company called VirnetX over alleged patent infringement involving FaceTime video calling features. VirnetX is the same company that won $200 million in a settlement from Microsoft in 2010.

U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas heard the case. This district court is commonly used for patent infringement suits in the tech world, and in this case, VirnetX alleged that FaceTime was violating four of its patents relating to private networks. The case specifically targeted the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad along with Mac computers.

The patents at the core of the case have to do with the use of a domain-name service to set up virtual private networks allowing website owners to interact with customers securely. VirnetX was seeking $708 million in damages.
 
The company was awarded damages in the amount of $368.2 million.

“For years Apple refused to pay fair value for the VirnetX patents,” Doug Cawley, a lawyer with McKool Smith in Dallas who represents VirnetX, said in closing arguments. “Apple says they don’t infringe. But Apple developers testified that they didn’t pay any attention to anyone’s patents when developing their system.”

“Apple does not owe money to VirnetX,” Danny Williams, a lawyer with Williams, Morgan & Amerson in Houston who represents Apple, told the jury. “VirnetX is not entitled to money for things they did not invent. The VirnetX technology, if used, is a small part of very large, complex products.”

VirnetX and Apple have another case pending before the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington. VirnetX also has claims pending against Cisco Systems, Avaya Inc. and Siemens Enterprise Communications that will begin in March.

Source: Bloomberg



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This comment say it for all developers....
By rdhood on 11/7/2012 10:56:46 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
But Apple developers testified that they didn’t pay any attention to anyone’s patents when developing their system.”


Big hint: The vast majority of developers do not pay attention to anyone's patents. Seriously... do you think developers are fully aware and versed in millions of patents such that they can avoid infringing on any one of those patents? Thus, when someone creates an obvious patent, folks infringe all over the place. The patent system is broken.




RE: This comment say it for all developers....
By amanojaku on 11/7/2012 11:26:48 AM , Rating: 2
That's why patent attorneys exist. Ignorance is not an excuse, especially for large companies with expensive lawyers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_lawyer

And thanks to the Internet, you can search for patents pretty quickly.

http://www.google.com/?tbm=pts

Now, if you want to argue the VALIDITY of a patent, that's another story.

http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/sol/notices/7...


By Theoz on 11/7/2012 1:25:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That's why patent attorneys exist.

A more apt conclusion would have been "that's why the entire court system exists." Ignorance of the law is not an excuse for ANY law in the US.


By Solandri on 11/7/2012 4:20:29 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
That's why patent attorneys exist. Ignorance is not an excuse, especially for large companies with expensive lawyers.

Actually for patents, I'd say a violation based on ignorance is a strong reason to invalidate the patent.

Patents are supposed to be non-obvious to someone skilled in the art. If some engineer or researcher ignorant of a patent manages to duplicate it, then that's a pretty good indication that it's obvious. And the patent should be invalidated.

So ignorance is better than an excuse.


By Trisped on 11/7/2012 7:19:59 PM , Rating: 2
Just because you can find a patent does not mean you are going to read all the patents to find out if your new project will infringe. If anything it is proof that the developers did not steal the IP, since they invented it without the patent or seeing anyone else do it. Sounds like an obvious solution to me.

The fact is that these patents are not new or novel, they take existing ideas and technologies which are then combine in obvious and simple ways. They did not make a new way of doing things, they just made it so no one can do that anymore.


By boobo on 11/7/2012 8:21:38 PM , Rating: 2
According to patent law, even for a valid patent, ignorance is partially an excuse. Ignorance will save you from having to pay triple damages.

Even with the Internet, you cannot search for software patents pretty quickly, since every single line you write could potentially be infringing some ridiculous, invalid patent. Clearly making an exhaustive internet search on each of the 20 million lines of code of your program and every possible combination of them is not going to be anywhere near quick or reasonable.


"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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